Beautiful paintings of glitchy NES screens will star in Tokyo art gallery through December.
There’s a great quote from musician Brian Eno about how progress in any artistic field creates a longing for what came before:
Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit — all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart.
It’s true. Think about how people like retro apps that turn their high-definition selfies into a mess of janky pixels, or how many people rushed for the chance to use the tiny, limited Nintendo Entertainment System controllers with their souped-up new Switch consoles.
And now Shun Okada, an artist from Tokyo, has taken his appreciation for Nintendo’s past glitches to a whole other level. On his canvases, streams of glitched-out fonts jag into unpleasant peaks, rock textures sprawl in ugly clumps across the sky, and name select screens tessellate over themselves until the features are lost in a pixellated froth.
▼ Just a reminder that this is a painting, not a screenshot.
(Click side arrows to see more.)
▼ And this one is embroidery!
While Okada has had work featured in galleries, from December 6 he will hold his first solo exhibition, titled Retrojective.
おかだ (@Oka_un) November 26, 2019
The exhibition will be held in Tokyo’s TAV Gallery, a museum that places a spotlight on unusual and alternative art. Positing Okada as the “player” and his pieces as the “actions” he takes in a hypothetical game, visitors can enjoy his mixed media pieces while guessing what game he had to mangle to achieve the source screen.
▼ Can you figure out what game this comes from?
▼ That looks suspiciously like the Namco logo…
Okada will tweet alongside his exhibition to shed light on the various works, and help guests to identify the assets and games that inspired them. Glitches are a simple fact of technology, and Okada’s method of elevating them in oil paint, glass and embroidery is definitely worth a lLlLlllloỏ̵͙̙͖̮̋͝͝o̷̰͙͂̽͛͘ỏ̵͙̙͖̮̋͝͝o̷̰͙͂̽͛͘ỏ̵͙̙͖̮̋͝͝k̶̞̻̙̑͆̐͒̓̏̉̈́̎͘̕k̶̞̻̙̑͆̐͒̓̏̉̈́̎͘̕k̶̞̻̙̑͆̐͒̓̏̉̈́̎͘̕k̶̞̻̙̑͆̐͒̓̏̉̈́̎͘̕k̶̞̻̙̑͆̐͒̓̏̉̈́̎͘̕kkkKk.
Shun Okada Solo Exhibit “RETROJECTIVE” / 岡田舜 個展「RETROJECTIVE」
Address: Tokyo-to, Suginami-ku, Asagaya Kita 1-31-2
Open: December 6, 2019 to December 22, 2019
1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Closed Wednesday and Thursday)